Final score: Longview 56, Robert E. Lee 35
Turning point: With the Red Raiders trailing 21-20 at less than 3 minutes to play until halftime, REL had first and goal at the 2, but was called for holding. The penalty pushed the Red Raiders back and they eventually had to settle for a field goal, which was blocked and returned the other way for a TD. Lee answered with a flea-flicker 74-yard TD pass from Chance Amie to Isaiah Davison, but the ensuing kickoff was returned for a TD by Longview’s A’Darius Carter. On the play, REL place kicker/punter Javier Orellana was injured trying to make the tackle on Carter. The Lobos led by seven points at half and never relinquished their advantage in the second half.
Quotable: “When you are playing a good football team you have to stop the run, you have to execute your offense, you have to protect the football and you’ve got to win the kicking game. We didn’t execute in all three phases.” - Clayton George, REL head coach
The game was over when: The Red Raiders trailed 56-28 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, but moved to within a TD when Amie scrambled, and on the run, lofted a 60-yard TD pass to Keashun Davis. REL then forced a turnover with Makyle Sanders recovering a fumble. With Lee driving to make it a two-possession game, REL fumbled inside the 10. Longview took possession with 7:49 remaining and used 15-straight run plays to drain the clock.
Key stats: The teams combined for 738 yards rushing and 1084 yards total (Lee 343 rush, 219 pass) in the game.
Warning signs: Special teams continue to hinder REL’s success. The Red Raiders allowed kick return TD for the second time this season and also had two kicks blocked in the game, one of them returned for a score. The Lobos began drives from the 50, own 46, own 41, own 47, Lee 49, Lee 42 and Lee 34 after punts/kick returns during the contest.
Positive signs: The Lobos entered with the stingiest defense in the district, giving up 23 ppg and 141 yards rushing per game. Lee surpassed those numbers and more. Lee’s 35 points was the most REL had scored against Longview since 2001 (won 38-19). REL is also averaging 300 yards rushing per game.
What this loss means: REL (2-3, 0-2 in District 11-6A) needs to put one in the win column and end a three-game slide. The good news is the district is wide open. Longview and Rockwall-Heath are 2-0 with John Tyler, Rockwall, Mesquite Horn and North Mesquite sitting at 1-1 and Mesquite and Lee are 0-2. The Red Raiders have already played the two district front-runners.
Fast forward: Lee goes on the road to face Mesquite Horn, which bounced back from a 10-point loss to Longview in its opener by defeating Mesquite 49-24 on Friday. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2013 when Horn defeated REL 48-21. The Jaguars have won the past five meetings between the two teams.